Final rule on tip violations re-establishes fines

The U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule on Sept. 23, clarifying several amendments to section 3(m) of the Fair Labor Standards Act concerning tip pooling. The final rule reestablishes the DOL’s right to assess civil monetary penalties in an amount up to $1,100 per violation, against employers that unlawfully retain employees’ tips. See the final rule here:

Federal Register: Tip Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); Partial Withdrawal. The final rule is effective Nov. 23.

DOL modified 29 CFR §§ 531.54(c)(3) and (d), which currently provide that an employer may not “include” managers and supervisors in tip pools or sharing arrangements.  The final rule clarifies that while managers and supervisors may not receive tips from mandatory tip pooling/sharing arrangements, managers or supervisors are not prohibited from contributing tips to eligible employees in mandatory tip pooling/sharing arrangements. Further, the modified language in the DOL’s tipping regulations makes clear that a manager or supervisor may keep tips only when the tip is based on service the manager or supervisor “directly” and “solely” provides.  The final rule also confirms that employers that do not apply a tip credit towards employees’ wages may allow non-managerial and non-supervisory back-of-house employees to participate in a tip pool.   

(Editor’s Note: The italics are DOL’s)

In other DOL news, the department fined Pearl River Wholesale of Saipan $2,324 in civil penalties for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered $21,093 in back wages and liquidated damages for four workers who Pearl River paid, a fixed, “off-the-books” cash salary that dropped their hourly wage below the required federal $7.25 minimum wage rate and denied them overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.


Deadline for mandatory coronavirus vaccination of DoD Civilian employees

All U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, “subject to exemptions as required by law,” according to an Oct. 4 release from the department. Employees are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after receiving a single dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

New DoD civilian employees must be fully vaccinated by their start date or Nov. 22, 2021, whichever is later, according to an Oct. 4 release

You can read the guidance memo here.

DoD has already mandated vaccinations for active duty personnel, as well as required non-military individuals to be vaccinated if they wish to enter a building on base.


Bank closes yet another branch

Bank of Guam announced Oct. 1 that it is closing its Chalan Piao location on Dec. 31, and “streamlining operations” at its Garapan branch, the remaining branch in Saipan.

The bank referred to “undeniable growth in (its) digital banking solutions,” in its release.

Bank of Guam also has seven branches in Guam (after several branch closures) one each in Tinian and Rota, one in Palau, one in the Marshall Islands and one in each of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia, according to Journal files.

The U.S. Banking Administration Institute found in August 2020 that more than 50% of U.S. consumers have used digital banking applications more since the start of the pandemic. In addition, BAI found “87% of consumers plan on maintaining their increased usage after the end of the pandemic.”

Bank of Guam saw the volume of ATM deposits increase by more than 300% since 2019. Aside from that, in a July interview, Joaquin PLG Cook, president and CEO of Bank of Guam, told the Journal the determining factor on whether consumers convert or use digital banking is often a simple one. “It’s how people get paid.” If people are paid by deposit to their accounts he said, “The need to stand in line is gone.”

The bank also said in July that among upcoming services, it is looking to offer remote deposit capture for commercial clients, which is when a company uses a unique check scanner and scanning software to create an electronic image of each check that it wishes to deposit. The company then transmits the scanned check information to its bank instead of making a physical deposit.


Legislature passes bill to fund Guam hospital

The 36th Guam Legislature passed Bill No. 121-36, the “Guam Twenty-First Century Healthcare Center Construction Act of 2021, to “provide a financing mechanism to jumpstart the construction of a medical campus to house Guam Memorial Hospital, [the] Department of Public Health and Social Services, and the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center,” according to an Oct. 4 release.

Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero has requested $3 million from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs to fund a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan for building the hospital at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

The legislature also passed Bill No. 153-36, “The Department of Corrections Modernization Act of 2021,” to build a new DOC facility.



The U.S. Department of Labor announced awards of $195.7 million in grant funding to states and territories, and the District of Columbia to help them detect and combat fraud in their unemployment insurance programs.

Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands each received $210,000, the Federated States of Micronesia received $100,000. The areas have until Oct. 31 to apply for the funding. 

Additional funding was awarded for combating fraud in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation in August.


University announces Peace Corps program

The University of Guam announced Oct. 1 the upcoming launch of Peace Corps Prep, an undergraduate certificate program, at the University of Guam. Scheduled to kick off on Feb. 15, the program will combine targeted coursework with hands-on experience, building the competencies needed for students to become Peace Corps volunteers or other intercultural fieldworkers.  The program will be open to all majors.

Peace Corps volunteers serve in more than 60 countries, according to the Peace Corps site. Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia were among those countries until 2017 and 2018 respectively.

More than 700 undergraduate students completed the Peace Corps Prep program in the 2020–2021 academic year, according to the release, which also said the University of Guam is one of 11 new university partnerships this year for the Peace Corps among a network of 150 partner institutions nationwide. 


Football association announces board candidates

The Guam Football Association candidates for the soccer association’s Oct. 20 election are:

  • GFA President: Valentino San Gil (incumbent); Robert J. Torres
  • GFA Senior Vice President: Jason Cunliffe; George Lai
  • GFA Junior Vice President: Joseph Cepeda (incumbent); Dr. Nathaniel Berg
  • Executive Committee At-Large Member: Craig Wade

A total of 13 member clubs comprises the GFA Congress and each club holds one vote. Five other at-large executive-committee members will complete four-year terms in 2023 and will be eligible to run for re-election. They are Fred Alig II, Tina Esteves, Duane Pahl, Joseph “Joe” Roberto, and Gian Tenorio.


And also:

Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres has appointed former Guam senator William M. Castro as his chief of staff. Castro had served as director of Institutional Effectiveness at the Northern Marianas College and as a Senator, worked in the establishment of the Marianas Working Group between the Offices of the Governors of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The United Service Organizations Guam announced the Dusit Thani Guam Resort/The Plaza Shopping Center property is the new host of the USO Tumon Bay center. The anticipated grand opening for the new USO Tumon Bay at Dusit-Plaza is January 2022, according to the USO, which will be moving from the Royal Orchid Guam Hotel after 16 years.

Center services are to be suspended until then, but outreach services continue for military units, service members and families. The USO also has a presence on Naval Base Guam and at Andersen Air Force Base.

GTA will outfit the new location with wi-fi, digital TV, and long-distance calling as part of its longstanding communication support at all USO Guam centers. Dewitt will contribute all packing, transport, and storage services to relocate assets.

The International Air Transport Association at its 77th Annual General Meeting approved a resolution for the global air transport industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This commitment will align with the Paris Agreement goal for global warming not to exceed 1.5°C, according to an Oct. 4 release. “To be able to serve the needs of the ten billion people expected to fly in 2050, at least 1.8 gigatons of carbon must be abated in that year. Moreover, the net zero commitment implies that a cumulative total of 21.2 gigatons of carbon will be abated between now and 2050,” IATA said. mbj